Los Angeles (Spila) – The University of Southern California has found a new football coach.
Lincoln Riley, the Oklahoma Sooners coach, recently informed his former Oklahoma coaching staff that he will be the new coach for the Trojans in the 2022-2023 season.
Despite a flood of reports from a variety of reliable sports sources, it took USC a few hours to confirm the move. However, they have canceled a Zoom meeting/briefing with acting director Dontey Williams that was scheduled to take place on Sunday afternoon at 4pm.
Riley spoke about the move in a USC press release Sunday evening:
“I am really excited to come to USC and join the Trojan family as their new football coach. USC has an unparalleled footballing tradition with tremendous resources and facilities, and the management has been deeply committed to winning. I look forward to honoring and building on this successful tradition. The pieces have been put in Its place to get the show back to where it should be and fans expect it to be. We will work hard to develop a physical football team that dominates both lines of scrimmage, has a balanced dynamic attack and a strong and brave defense.”
We have our man.
– USC Football (USC_FB) November 29, 2021
Riley took over as head coach at Oklahoma in 2017, but has been with the school since 2015 as offensive coordinator and quarterback coach.
In his time as head coach, he led the Sooners to four consecutive Big 12 championships from 2017-2020 – 2021 the first year the Sooners failed to make a championship game during his tenure.
Despite ending the year 10-2, Oklahoma missed out on the title game thanks to losses to both Baylor (10-2) and Oklahoma State (11-1), two teams that would actually be tied rather than sooner. His final year was marred by personal drama for the player, especially in terms of pre-season, Heisman favorite turned quarterback Spencer Rattler.
He was aged 55-10 over those four years, but only managed a 1-3 record in four bowl games—all three of those losses came in College Football Colloff games, as the Sooners pursued a national title. The Sooners took their single bowl win under Riley in 2020, crushing the Florida Gators at the Cotton Bowl, 55-20.
However, Riley coached two Heisman Award winners during his tenure in back-to-back seasons with Baker Mayfield (2017) and Kyler Murray (2018). In 2019, Sooners quarterback Jalen Hurts also finished second at Heisman.
In 2015, Riley received the Broyles Award, awarded to the best assistant coach in college football. He was also awarded the AP Big 12 Coach of the Year and Big 12 Coach of the Year in 2018, the latter being chosen by his fellow conference head coaches.
Riley is set to become the 30th coach in USC football history.
The Trojans are in the middle of season 4-7 with only one game left to play. This is their second losing season in the past four years. They fired coach Clay Hilton on September 13 and have been searching for a suitable replacement ever since.
Since 2010, USC has had problems sticking with the head coach for so long. At that time they had five different coaches. Lane Kevin led the team from 2010 to the middle of the 2013 season when he was fired. Ed Orgeron, the former LSU Tigers coach ended the season before resigning from the coaching staff when he was overtaken to work full-time.
Instead, the Trojans hired Steve Sarkissian, who would only stay in the position for a season and a half, when his job was terminated amid a myriad of personal problems.
In his stead, the USC promoted then offensive coordinator Clay Hilton. He led the team from 2015 until just two games into the 2021 season, where he was sent off after a 42-28 loss to Stanford. Helton was replaced by Williams for the remainder of the season.
Riley has not been listed as a job candidate in reports in recent months, with the Trojans being linked to names like Dave Aranda of Baylor, James Franklin of Pennsylvania, Matt Campbell of Iowa, and Luke Feckle of Cincinnati.